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National Childrens Month 2021All children have rights and those rights must be protected” - Novak Djokovic

This November, we are celebrating the National Children’s Month with the theme: “New Normal na Walang Iwanan: Karapatan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan”. This is mandated by R.A. 10661 also known as the National Children’s Month Act signed in 2015 which aims to commemorate the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. Based on the convention, children are entitled to the following rights regardless of sex, race, citizenship, religion, and social class:

1. Right to be born well.
2. Right to have a wholesome family life.
3. Right to a versatile development of character.
4. Right to have basic living essentials such as nutritious foods, clothing, shelter, medical assistance and other necessities.
5. Right to be in an atmosphere where personality can be enhanced.
6. Right to be well-educated and develop basic learning skills.
7. Right to play and do recreational activities during the child’s leisure hours.
8. Right to be protected and carried away from abusive individuals.
9. Rights to live in a stress-free and negative environment.
10. Right to be looked after when parents or guardians fail to sustain fundamental needs.
11. Right to be led by a genuine and sincere government for better well-being.
12. Right to age in a surrounding filled with love, tranquility and appreciation.

Lung Cancer Awareness MonthLung Cancer is the top 1 cause of death in the Philippines and is also the top 1 most frequent cancer in males and top 4 most frequent cancer in females as of 2020. Most of these cases are attributed to smoking and other dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors. This is why we are observing the Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November with the theme: “Kaalaman sa Kanser sa Baga Palawakin, Pag iwas at Lunas Ating Alamin”.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer due to the presence of cancer-causing substances in the combustion of tobacco from cigarettes. This can be aggravated by eating carcinogenic foods from the diet and exposure to other carcinogens from the environment such as asbestos, silica fibers, diesel fumes, air pollution, chromium, nickel, cobalt, cadmium, arsenic, or ionizing radiation. Cancer risk can be reduced by limiting exposure from these substances. The following are 10 nutrition tips on dietary factors that may help reduce lung cancer risk:

1. Stop smoking or avoid exposure to second-hand smoke. Cigarette smoke contains cancer-promoting substances that may cause DNA damage and give rise to cancer cells that may grow uncontrollably and hinder the function of other organs in the body. Smoking cessation and avoidance of secondhand smoke is the number one preventive measure for current smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke.

2. Limit intake of red meats and processed meats. A 2020 study has shown that “high intake of red meat has been linked to increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer”. Red meat has been classified as probably carcinogenic and processed meat as carcinogenic. This is due to the release of harmful heterocyclic amines and polycyclic hydrocarbons when cooking processed meats. Thus, avoid or limit intake of processed meats and red meats. Lean poultry, fish, beans and legumes are healthier alternatives.

3. Limit intake of high-fat foods especially those high in saturated fat. Intake of high fat foods are associated with higher lung cancer risk. They include fried foods that are either prepared with saturated fats such as butter, lard or margarine. They are associated with promoting oxidative stress inside the body and contribute to overweight and obesity thus limiting intake may help reduce lung cancer risk.

Elderly

During this pandemic, elderly individuals have the highest risk of COVID-19 infection due to old age, comorbidities and impaired immune system. Thus, it is important for us to support their needs to maintain health and improve their protection against COVID-19. Last October 1-7, we celebrated the Elderly Filipino Week with the theme: “Mahalaga sina Lolo at Lola sa Panahon ng Pandemya” which aims to increase public awareness on the different issues experienced by elderly Filipinos.

Due to prolonged lockdowns, poor access to medical services and limited budget for food and other basic needs, we must maximize our resources by choosing those that give the most benefit. In terms of nutrition, choosing nutrient dense foods and applying simple dietary modification can help maintain a good nutritional status and address common digestive problems of elderly individuals.

Washing Raw Chicken

Do you often wash your newly bought raw chicken at home? Did you know that washing your raw chicken may bring you more harm especially when not handled properly? Disease causing bacteria such as Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken. Salmonella may cause food poisoning leading to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea 1-3 days after ingestion of contaminated food. They can also be found in raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, unwashed fruits and raw vegetables (melons and sprouts) and even from touching certain animals, such as chickens, ducks, and turtles, then putting your hands to your mouth.

Maple syrup urine diseaseAs of December 2020, 1 in 61,244 newborns in the Philippines are diagnosed with Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD) through the Expanded Newborn Screening. Maple Syrup Urine Disease is an inborn error in metabolism due to the deficiency of the enzyme that processes branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s). Branched chain amino acids are breakdown products of protein from our diet. They can be widely found in protein rich foods such as Milk, Egg, Fish, Poultry, Meat, Beans and Legumes. When these amino acids are not processed due to the deficient enzyme, they will accumulate and can manifest with irritability, poor feeding, vomiting, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, seizures and a maple syrup odor of the urine.

Food Safety

As of 2014, Acute Watery Diarrhea ranks top 7 in the top 10 leading causes of morbidity in the Philippines. It is one of the Food and Water-Borne diseases. Other related diseases include Acute Bloody Diarrhea, Acute Viral Hepatitis, Cholera, Rotavirus and Typhoid Fever. These diseases can be prevented through food safety practices and awareness. This October, we are celebrating the Food Safety Awareness Week with the theme “Mula sa iyong malilinis na kamay, ligtas na pagkain sa hapag ang alay!”. It is based on Proclamation 160 signed in 1999 which aims “to create public awareness and educate people on food safety in order to reduce and ultimately eradicate food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses”. By practicing food safety habits such as hand washing, using safe and clean water and proper handling of food - we can prevent food poisoning and food-borne illnesses.